WWF Reveals Results of First-Ever Shark Fin Consumption Survey of CaterersAs a strong advocate of a ban on shark fin consumption, WWF-Hong Kong has spearheaded no shark fin campaign since 2007. To review the effectiveness of these initiatives, between April and September of this year we conducted the first-ever Shark Fin Consumption Survey of caterers in Hong Kong. We received responses from 154 catering outlets[i], including Chinese banquet caterers, hotels and clubhouses. The best-available data shows that shark fin consumption volume dropped by 47%[ii] in 2013 when compared to 2012, which is consistent with the declining trend shown in Hong Kong’s 2013 shark fin importation volumes[iii]. According to the responses from many of the respondents, their main reason for deciding whether to ban shark fin dishes is based on “consumer request”, WWF renews our call for individuals and corporations to take action and say no to shark fin.
Tracy Tsang, WWF-Hong Kong’s Senior Programme Officer (Shark) explains the findings, “This ground-breaking survey studies the awareness and effectiveness of WWF’s shark fin initiative from the suppliers’ perspective. We believe that the involvement of the catering industry is crucial to promoting shark conservation. The survey results indicate that hotels and clubhouses are taking the lead in saying no to shark fin. However, Chinese banquet caterers have shown few signs of improvement, even though they are the largest shark fin consumption sector. We urge them to proactively participate in the no shark fin campaign to fulfil their social responsibility.”
In 2010, WWF-Hong Kong launched its Alternative Shark-free Menu Programme requesting that caterers offer at least one banquet menu without shark fin soup to give customers another option. “It is encouraging to see that many caterers have taken out the shark fin dishes from their menus. They would offer the dishes to customers only upon request, and in recent years, many have even banned shark fin entirely,” Ms Tsang added.
In this survey, over 55 per cent of respondents predicted a decreasing trend for shark fin consumption in Hong Kong. “Following the company’s global policy, Hyatt hotels in Hong Kong has adopted a no shark fin policy. We trust that ‘no shark fin’ has become a dining trend and we hope to see more hotels and caterers join us to support this initiative of WWF,” said Raymond Cheung, Executive Sous Chef of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong at the press briefing, whose opinion is aligned with the WWF survey findings.
“Even without shark fin, our guests are still offered with many choices of dishes. We recommend our guests to use sustainable seafood as alternatives to shark fin,” Li Shu-tim, Executive Chinese Chef of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong supplemented.
[i] 85 catering outlets responded through completed questionnaires, additional 69 outlets shared data and their views towards shark conservation issues via direct interviews.
[ii] Given the sensitivity of the questions, we managed to solicit 23 responds which cover 35 outlets.
[iii] Please refer to http://www.wwf.org.hk/en/news/?11220